The young Bears extended their undefeated streak to 11 games, inlcuding an 8-0 mark last year and a trio of victories so far this season, including wins over Polk and Rhea counties.
Bradley head coach Damon Floyd is excited about this young bunch and has high praise for Coach Todd Stevison and Coach Matt Day with the tremendous job they have done with the JV squad over the past three years.
“Matt and Todd have really instilled a winning attitude with this group and the ones before them. Their work with our freshmen and sophomores has really carried over into our varsity program the last few years,” Floyd said.
The Bears controlled the first half against the Purple Pounders and led 24-7 at the intermission. On the Bears’ first possession, freshman QB Cole Copeland found sophomore Miller Clark for a 47-yard touchdown pass. Logan Snyder tacked on the extra point to take a 7-0 lead.
Bradley then added a “Pick 6” when sophomore Swan Parker intercepted a Chattanooga Central pass and returned it for a 59-yard touchdown. With the extra point blocked, the score was 13-0 early in the first quarter.
The Bears defense held the Pounders on their next possession after sacks from sophomore Brett Brown and freshman Edward Elkins gave the ball back to the Bears deep in Pounder territory.
The Bears drive began with six straight completions from Copeland to four different receivers: three to Parker, one to Lynn, one to Miller and one to Rashad Marshall.
Copeland capped the drive off with a 3-yard run into the end zone. With the extra point blocked again, the Bears were ahead 19-0 early in the second.
Chattanooga Central was forced to punt on their next possession after big defensive plays by sophomore corner Zach Peak and by sophomore linebacker Courtland Bradley.
A little later after the Pounders had scored, the Bears returned the kickoff to the Pounder 43, where Copeland and company went to work in their two-minute offense with 40 seconds left to play in the half. With .01 seconds remaining, Copeland rolled out to the right and found Parker on a backside post to for a 26-yard touchdown pass to put the Bears up 25-7 at half.
The Pounders opened the second half with a 76-yard scoring drive, but the Bears answered back quickly returning the kickoff to the Pounder 37. A few plays later a Copeland to Still touchdown pass pushed the lead back to 18 points.
Chattanooga Central scored on its next two possession to close the gap to 31-27, but sophomore Michael Deleon recovered the ensuing onside kick for the Bears at the Pounder 45. The Bears answered back on a four-play drive that started with a 42-yard scamper by Billups and capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run by Copeland, putting the Bears out front 37-27 with 5:36 left in the game.
Chattanooga Central scored with 1:29 seconds to go in the game to once again pull within four points. Deleon once again recovered a onside kick and the Bears ran the clock out for the win.
Bradley’s defense held strong and was led by freshmen Cason Still, Jake Tolleson, Edward Elkins and Hunter Duggan, along with sophomores Brett Brown, Jamey Billups and Kevin Key.
Copeland finished the game 16-of-27 for 188 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for two more. Parker and Clark each caught three passes for 63 and 68 yards respectively, each with a touchdown. Still and Lynn each caught two passes for 17 and 23 yards, with Still on the other TD reception. Marshall hauled in four passes as Billups and Peak each caught one.
Coach Stevison had high praise for Swan Parker, who has had an excellent start to the young season scoring both on offense, defense and special teams.
“Swan just needs to get his hands on the ball as many times as he can. He reminds me of Justin Houston; he has the ability to score anytime he touches it,” Stevison praised.
Coach Day is pleased with how the players have responded to the offense.
“I think Cole is grasping the offense very well, and he has lots of receivers to throw to. We lost freshman Ty Beavers for a couple of weeks, but Miller, Still, Lynn and Peak have stepped it up. When 6’3” freshmen Trevan Hill gains more experience, he will be another big target for Copeland. As our offensive line matures our running game will improve. We have to get Billups and Marshall more touches as the season goes along. It is our job to get these kids ready for Friday night, and some are just a couple of plays in getting the call.”